Sunday, July 15, 2012

4th of July Hike

Happy Fourth of July! A few weeks late... I've been thinking about writing this blog for weeks now, life has just been crazy. I started a new contract position and it has been so busy, I  haven't had time to breathe. But it is Sunday and I am breathing.

How did you spend your 4th of July? Did you have fun? We had a great day. We did a nice hike on the aptly named, 4th of July Trail head, in Indian Peaks Wilderness which is about 20 minutes from Nederland. The trail head is down a long dirt road, about 4 miles in, but it is worth the slow bumpy ride. Though it's bumpy, you drive through a beautiful dense forest of aspen trees, quietly swaying in the wind. So it is a nice drive and gets you immediately gets you in the mood for a hike and some peace and quiet. If you want peace and quiet, get to trail head early- the trail head can be very busy. While the trail is about an hour and a half from where we live in Littleton, we got to the trail before 8:00 am and it was not too crowded.

We took the Arapahoe pass trail to Dorothy Lake (from the 4th of July trail head) which was the same trail we hiked a year ago when Chris proposed to me! It was an amazing day a year ago when we got engaged on top of a mountain. It was so beautiful and heart felt and we were so happy. So we wanted to do the same hike and take a picture at the top right where he proposed a year earlier. And it is a great hike - a nice 7 mile round trip perfect for 4th of July morning.

The beginning of the trail takes you through woods, dark and damp. It feels cool in the woods which is nice. But you're not in the shade for too long. After some elevation climbing you are rewarded with views of the mountains and a waterfall. And you find yourself in the most beautiful wild flower field  with blue columbines (the state flower), these gorgeous red flowers, and little dots of yellow all throughout the field. It must be a flower-lover's dream. For your average nature lover like me, it's just plain beautiful. It feels very serene up there especially early when it's not crowded yet. You also get to cross a few small streams which on your way up which is fun and the dog loves them.

Jake being a good boy posing for his picture

Eventually you climb up over tree line and walk through a talus field for about 3/4's of a mile or so. From here you get to see the mountains and valley below you on the right side of the trail. We saw some people hiking up the mountain on the right side, high above us. We're going to try that trail sometime soon. You reach the "top" (what we decided was our top) at Dorothy Lake. Jake loves water ( I think he must be part lab or something!) so we let him swim around for a bit.

Me and Jake at Dorothy Lake

Me and my favorite guy

Then Jake decided to spray all his cold mountain water off on me...

Jake spraying freezing water on me

Then we hiked over to the same spot where Chris proposed just a year earlier. The spot overlooks the valley below and mountains around it. It is quite beautiful. We took a picture of our hands together with our wedding rings. Just like we took a picture a year earlier of my hand with my new engagement ring on it. So it was a special day for us and a beautiful hike.

Our rings

Happy People

A year before...

My ring.. I was so excited

Newly Engaged- we were so happy!

Happy Times :)
On our way back down the trail around 10:00- 10:30 am it had started to get crowded. By 12:00 when we got to the bottom the trail was packed. So again, get there early! Parking on the dirt road is crazy. Don't drive the whole way in when you see cars, just park. Because if you drive the whole way in you just have to turn around and drive a half mile back to park- no fun.

We had a barbeque to head to in Boulder but got to stop in Nederland first. Ned is one of my favorite little towns in Colorado because it is so unique; the people are eccentric and the little restaurants are great. It's just a cool little town filled with a mix of hippies, motorcycle dudes, and mountaineers. It's great! We got to eat lunch at my favorite little coffee shop, Blue Moon Bakery. Nothing like egg and bagel sandwhiches, coffee, and vegan peanut butter chocolate thumb print cookies after a hike! Then it was off to Boulder for the bbq. It was a great 4th of July!

I love Colorado. Until next time, get out there and enjoy! I will.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Moving out west!

About a year ago, my now-husband and I moved out to Colorado in May of 2011. It was a combination of nerves and excitement when we got really serious about making the move. I was so excited to adventure to somewhere new! Leave the hectic DC job scene and humidity, enjoy a more laid back lifestyle, get to play outside anytime we wanted, explore little mountain towns- what more could I ask for? Well if I could have it MY way I would bring all of my family and friend with me. Especially my family. I lived less than an hour from my parents and my brother and his kids. And about three hours from my sister and her kids. Plus we have a family beach house that we all gathered at in the summer that was just three hours a way. I wanted all that out west too! Being close with my family, getting to watch my niece and nephews grow up, that all priceless. But adventure called and we decided to pack up the car and the cat and drive 24 hours out to Colorado, ending up just south of Denver. And even though it's tough sometimes I am so glad we did it.

We have had so much fun here in just a year, escaping to the mountains every chance we get to hike or run with our dog in the clean mountain air. We have explored cute little mountain towns from Grand Lake near Rocky Mountain National Park to Ouray near Durango in the South, and tried tons of micro-brews on the way. We've made great friends and adopted our best little friend Jake, our dog. It's been an amazing adventure and it's only just begun. I can't wait to tell you about all the awesome hikes, coffee shops, breweries, and more we've found along the way.